The Lanka Academic

MAY 31, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 56

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Anil's Ghost: Ondaatje's new novel worth the wait
ANNE-MARIE TOBIN, Associated Press. TORONTO (CP) -- Michael Ondaatje left Sri Lanka as a schoolboy and settled in Canada almost 40 years ago, but his new novel Anil's Ghost conveys an ache for the people of his troubled homeland. More...
LA Times review by Jonathan Levi
T  A  B  L  E      O  F      C  O  N  T  E  N  T  S
Policy no barrier to gun-runners
Bangkok Post, May 28. A vague security policy toward Tamil rebels allows them to use Thailand as a base to procure arms to fight for an independent state in northern Sri Lanka, an informed security source said yesterday.A number of agents of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been secretly based here and running guns for several years, the source said. One of them is a major in the rebel force.Several small islands near Phuket are being used as delivery points, with weapons being delivered and transferred at sea, outside Thai territorial waters.A military source said army chief Gen Surayud Chulanond was very interested in the rebel group's activities. He had ordered the Fourth Army to keep close tabs on the movements of suspected members operating in the South. More..
Published: Wed May 31 23:31:46 EDT 2000

U.S. Donates Computer equipment to Sarvodaya
The Lanka Academic, Colombo, 31 May 2000. In a small ceremony at the Sarvodaya complex in Moratuwa this morning, U.S. Ambassador Shaun E. Donnelly presented computer equipment to help the renowned social service organization augment its library services. Ambassador Donnelly noted that Sarvodaya's good work over the years had earned it an enviable reputation and that the Embassy was happy to be able to assist.

Sarvodaya President Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne welcomed the U.S. Ambassador and his party and received the equipment with thanks. The new computer equipment, he said, would help the Sarvodaya Central Library offer better services to Moratuwa residents -- university students, schoolchildren, teachers and the general public, adding that such improvements in the field of education are needed to meet the challenges of the new millennium.
Published: Wed May 31 23:20:19 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Airlines and Emirates have jointly launched 'Skywards' - a frequent flyer programme
SLRC, May31. Sri Lankan Air Lines and Emirates have joined hands to confer a host of special privileges to those who use their flights frequently. Under the new programme, passengers will be entitled the privilege of extra baggage, allowance, priority in reservations and check-in and several other benefits as well as upgrading. More..
Published: Wed May 31 23:09:06 EDT 2000

TMC dares PMK, MDMK to quit NDA
The Statesman, May 31. — Mr GK Moopanar’s Tamil Maanila Co. today asked the PMK and MDMK to quit the NDA as their stand on the Sri Lankan crisis was totally different from the government’s. Mr Azhagiri asked Mr M Karunanidhi’s government in Tamil Nadu to ban the “Eelam Tamils’ Supportive Rally” planned by the MDMK in Chennai on 5 June. MDMK chief, Vaiko, was carrying on a campaign for the LTTE under the pretext of organising a rally in support of Eelam Tamils, he alleged. More..
Published: Wed May 31 22:15:25 EDT 2000

Lanka offers LTTE unconditional talks
AsianAge, May31. The Sri Lankan government and the LTTE are now looking at talks, rather than continued military action, as a possible solution to the conflict.The Tigers, who had been resistant to a dialogue, are now reportedly more responsive to President Chandrika Kumara- tunga’s “unconditional” offer of talks. The Sri Lankan President has clearly stated that she is willing to have a dialogue with the LTTE representatives without any conditions. In a recent interview with an Indian television network, Ms Kumaratunga again said that a peaceful settlement was the only way out of the crisis and that the LTTE could hold on to the territory they had acquired and talk from that point onward. More..
Published: Wed May 31 20:20:24 EDT 2000

The Tigers seem to having problems with their supply lines
Amal Jayasinghe, AFP via BBC, Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK. [Listen]
Published: Wed May 31 19:00:16 EDT 2000

Sporadic clashes have continued on the Jaffna Peninsula
Susannah Price, BBC, Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK. [Listen]
Published: Wed May 31 18:58:14 EDT 2000

Tiger onslaught 'beaten back'
BBC, Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK. The Sri Lankan Government says it has beaten back fresh attempts by Tamil Tiger rebels to advance in the northern Jaffna peninsula. An official said seven Tamil Tiger rebels were killed when the army repelled an attack on Chemmani, Columbutharai and Chavakachcheri. All three are on the outskirts of Jaffna town, a one-time Tamil Tiger stronghold which the rebels are trying to retake.

In another development, President Chandrika Kumaratunga ordered all soldiers to wear dog tags so that they could be identified if they were killed or wounded. She said that the bodies of soldiers were sometimes disposed of without being properly identified. More...
Published: Wed May 31 18:53:02 EDT 2000

First-hand account of Lankan war by NDTV correspondent
NDTV, May 31. At Palali air base, the only airfield on the peninsula, the helicopter's cargo is quickly unloaded to make way for soldiers wounded by gunfire and mortar shrapnel. More than 400 soldiers have been killed by the LTTE's unceasing waves since December, and the world is standing by to evacuate troops if necessary. Not a chance says the army, talking a new language of aggression--an aggression fuelled by millions of dollars spent on buying firepower. It is unlikely that these last-minute purchases, like powerful multi-barrel rocket lauchers, will hit the LTTE artillery scattered across the jungle.Lending the edge to the soldiers are not just new guns, but new generals as well. After the humiliating defeats since December, the army sacked the man in charge of Jaffna and brought in Lt. Gen. Janaka Perera. He told NDTV that it is the LTTE that is now getting killed in hundreds. He said, "We have given the soldiers the will to stand and fight. They come in waves, but that is mythical. We intend to turn it around." More..
Published: Wed May 31 17:29:11 EDT 2000

More than tea and sympathy - An Editorial
Hindustan Times, June 1. Yet can we really run away from an old and almost indissoluble tie — a geographical, ethnic, historical, religious, cultural and economic one — that binds India to Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese and Tamils? If the linguistic and cultural kinship between the Tamils of India and Sri Lanka is plain, the link between Indians and the Sinhalese is no secret either. The person and legacy of the Buddha and the Pali language bind the two together. Lankan chronicles have been crucial for clarifying Indian history. The Ramayana has imprinted Sri Lanka on the Indian mind. Our cultural and racial ancestry is identical. We are immediate neighbours. A lesson underlined by the Sri Lankan tragedy is the heavy price a nation pays when it delays accommodation. It was the “Sinhala only” cry, triggered as a reaction to the privileged position of English-knowing Sri Lankans, that supplied the opening blow against Sri Lankan unity. More..
Published: Wed May 31 17:22:44 EDT 2000

India must first mediate between PA, UNP
Hindustan Times, June 1. WITH A political role cast on its shoulders, India may have to first mediate between the ruling Peoples' Alliance (PA), the Opposition United National Party (UNP) and the Tamil and Muslim parties, before trying to mediate between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE, political analysts here say. "It is of critical importance to bring about a southern consensus before opening discussions with the LTTE on a political settlement of the ethnic and constitutional question. More..
Published: Wed May 31 17:22:44 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka launches diplomatic offensive
Times of India, May 31. COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government has launched a diplomatic offensive to keep the tide of international opinion on its side with its troops seemingly able to withstand Tigers' attempts to retake the northern city of Jaffna. Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told heads of missions here that troops have been able to stop the rolling onslaught launched by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels in their month-long bid to capture Jaffna, a statement issued late on Tuesday said. More..
Published: Wed May 31 16:39:06 EDT 2000

18 women among 26 Tigers killed; 8000 flee Jaffna
Times of India, May 31. COLOMBO: Anti-terrorist commandos and soldiers killed 26 Tamil Tiger rebels in separate gunbattles in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, even as the government admitted Wednesday that the fighting in the Jaffna peninsula had forced 8000 people to flee their homes. At least 14 women fighters were among the 18 rebels killed in Ampara, 200 km east of Colombo. The commandoes retaliated after the rebels attacked their camp with mortars, the state-run radio said. More..
Published: Wed May 31 16:39:06 EDT 2000

Uneasy calm in Jaffna
Hindu, May 31. An uneasy calm has fallen over the Jaffna peninsula, as the big guns on both sides continue to remain silent. On Wednesday the Sri Lankan Government reported only minor skirmishes between its troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. A Government press release said the LTTE launched an attack with rocket-propelled grenades on Army lines in Chemmani outside the Jaffna municipal area, but that Government troops ``retaliated effectively'', forcing them to withdraw. More..
Published: Wed May 31 16:28:53 EDT 2000

Senaka Bandaranayake new Sri Lankan envoy to India
Hindu, May 31. Sri Lanka's present ambassador to Paris, Dr. Senaka Bandaranayake, is to be the country's next High Commissioner to India. An eminent archaeologist and academic, Dr. Bandaranayake is also a relation of the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga. The appointment will be announced officially soon. He will take charge when Mr Mangala Moonesinghe, the present high commissioner to New Delhi, leaves in June for his next assignment in London. More..
Published: Wed May 31 16:28:53 EDT 2000

Tiger tales - An Editorial
National Post, May 31. Perhaps, when Mr. Martin agreed to attend the dinner, he was unaware of FACT's terrorist links. That would have been a fair excuse, but Mr. Martin did not use it and instead sprang to FACT's defence. It is an odd thing to do, given the mounting evidence of alarming activity here in Canada by the Tamil Tigers' supporters. The National Post published an astonishing photograph yesterday in which Tiger supporters, dressed in camouflage uniforms and carrying mock rifles, were shown raising funds in a Toronto school building. Does Mr. Martin regard this as an acceptable cultural activity too?Last year alone they raised an estimated $22-million here. And according to Canada's Federal Court, people who raise funds for terrorists "bear the same guilt and responsibility as those who carry out terrorist acts." More..
Published: Wed May 31 13:56:44 EDT 2000

LTTE attempts daring attack on Army in Chemmani
India-Today, May 31. In a daring attack, the LTTE used Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) at the Army's forward defence localities in Chemmani, while troops destroyed a terrorist bunker in Chavakachcheri killing seven rebels. More...
Published: Wed May 31 11:53:54 EDT 2000

Finance minister dismisses link to Tamil terrorists
Toronto Star, May 31. Finance Minister Paul Martin slammed the Canadian Alliance on Tuesday for claiming a group he has links with is raising money for Tamil terrorists.During Question Period, Alliance MP Ted White reminded the Commons that Martin attended a dinner in early May sponsored by the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils.White said the government should be investigating the federation for alleged terrorist links rather than attending its events. More...
Published: Wed May 31 10:15:05 EDT 2000

Martin comes to Tamils' defence
Toronto Sun, May 31. Finance Minister Paul Martin accused the Canadian Alliance of being "anti-Canadian" by condemning decent, hard-working Tamils living in Toronto.The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service and the U.S. State Department say FACT has links to the Tamil Tigers, a separatist rebel group responsible for the deaths of civilians and politicians in its war to win an independent ethnic state."He's trying to print a racist label on us when he can't," said White. "He's the one who made a mistake here. He's been caught donating taxpayers' money, basically, to a front for terrorists." More...
Published: Wed May 31 10:09:49 EDT 2000

Needed, a firm stand - An Editorial
Chennaionline, May 31. One remembers watching a classified film soon after the Rajiv Gandhi assassination showing Vaiko, or Y Gopalaswamy as he was known then, striding through the jungles of Jaffna for an assignation with the LTTE leader, V Prabhakaran (the meeting was before the assassination.Apart from what the politicians feel, public opinion on the matter is getting increasingly agitated. The LTTE might be a banned organisation in India, but Chennai is witnessing rallies in support of the Tigers. More...
Published: Wed May 31 10:04:14 EDT 2000

Veerappan to allies: Don’t back LTTE
Chennaionline, May 31. MGR Kazhagam, an ally of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), today appealed to the MDMK and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), not to espouse the cause of the LTTE in the present ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka as it would harm India and the alliance in Tamil Nadu. Addressing a press conference party president R M Veerappan said with the elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly approaching, opposition parties in the state were already trying to gain political mileage out of the stand being expressed by the MDMK and the PMK on the Lankan issue. They were diverting the people's attention from the objective of protecting the interests of the Tamils in the island nation. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:58:25 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka bans air conditioners to avert blackout
Orientation-afp, May 31. Sri Lanka has banned the use of air conditioners in a desperate bid to conserve hydro-electricity amid a lack of rain in catchment areas of hydro-electricity reservoirs, officials said Wednesday. The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said it would be an offence to use electricity from the national grid for air conditioners, lighting in shop windows, advertising sign boards and flood lights. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:49:51 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka battles identity crisis of war victims
Orientation-afp, May 31. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has asked field commanders to make it compulsory for soldiers to wear dog tags to ensure the identification of those killed or seriously wounded in battle.Kumaratunga, who is also the commander in chief of armed forces, said that bodies of soldiers were sometimes disposed of without adequate identification because most troopers did not wear identification tags."This has caused severe psychological scars to the members of the family particularly when there is no possibility of definite identification," the government said in a statement. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:48:20 EDT 2000

Pro-Eelam groups protest Gill's Colombo mission
Times of India, May 31. Pro-Eelam organisations in Tamil Nadu are incensed over retired Indian police officer K P S Gill's new role as a security adviser to the Sri Lankan government.Activists of the Ulaga Tamizhaga Peravai (World Tamil Federation), an umbrella organisation of pro-Eelam Tamil groups in India and Sri Lanka, demonstrated before Central government offices here on Monday calling for cancellation of Gill's Lanka mission, without knowing that the celebrated police officer was already back in India after his first visit to Colombo. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:26:09 EDT 2000

Russian tug-ship detained by Lankan warship
TASS, May31. The Russian Embassy in Sri Lanka is looking into circumstances of the detention of the Russian tug-ship Lazurit in neutral waters by a Lankan warship. Russian charge d'affaires in Sri Lanka Sergei Gavrikov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday that the incident occured a week ago, but the tug-ship's crew had not asked the Russian Embassy in Colombo for help thus far. The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry has not notified the Russian embassy of the Lazurit's detention. Local media are also silent on the incident. More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:24:08 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's deep scars
Boston Globe, May 31. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Roshi, a 31-year-old businesswoman, recalls driving along a highway some years ago and noticing two bodies necklaced with flaming tires, burning at the side of the road. Accustomed to violence after years of ethnic warfare, she wove her account matter-of-factly into the conversation. But minutes later, she turned to a friend and remarked sadly:

''Can you imagine what our friends in England and America would think of this? To us, that was just normal. What has happened to us?'' More...
Published: Wed May 31 09:21:32 EDT 2000

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka at stalemate.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 16:57 Wednesday.. Fighting in northern Sri Lanka between government troops and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at stalemate with both factions holding their positions.

Military officials said that no heavy fighting was reported from the northern war theatre, but two naval men were killed on late Tuesday night when artillery shells fired by the Tamil Tiger rebels fell into a navy bunker-line at Kankesanthurai, a government's sea port in northern Sri Lanka.

"It's look like calm before storm", a military source said in Colombo. The fighting was at stalemate amid speculations that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was moving his cadres to the war theatre from Wanni.

On Tuesday, government said that its army launched two-pronged attacks in several areas under control by the Tamil Tigers and in the operation at least 100 rebels were killed, but independent sources said that the figure was very much lower, since the army succeeded only a little due to heavy counter offensive actions by the rebels.

Meanwhile, the "city of Trinco", a passenger service inaugurated this month to ferry internally displaced people between Trincomalee and Jafna peninsula arrived at the eastern port city today carrying 250 refugees.

The refugees told local a journalist at Trincomalee that conditions in Jaffna is worst and hundreds of civilians were suffering without adequate food and shelter.

The United States under state secretary of political affairs Thomas Pickering during his visit to Colombo a few a days ago voiced serious concern over the plight of civilians in Jaffna peninsula and urged the government and the LTTE to return to the negotiating tables immediately before a major "human tragedy" occurs.

"We are very much concerned over the civilians in the area", he told a selected group of journalists before flying out of Sri Lanka that had been torn due to 18 years of bloody war.
Published: Wed May 31 07:24:21 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Troops Kill 26 Rebels
By DILIP GANGULY,Associated Press Writer, 06:38 SLT COLOMBO, 31. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- Sri Lankan commandos retaliated after a Tamil Tiger attack and soldiers raided rebel hide-outs, killing 26 rebels in separate fighting today, the government said.

Meanwhile, the government admitted for the first time today that the war against Tamil rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula has forced more than 8,000 people out of their homes.

The commando assault in Ampara, 125 miles east of Colombo, came after rebels attacked a police camp with mortars, state-run radio said. The radio reported 18 rebels killed, including 14 women. More...
Published: Wed May 31 07:20:55 EDT 2000

Coca-Cola Sri Lanka 3-month loss eases
Reuters, SLT COLOMBO, 31. COLOMBO, May 31 (Reuters) - Three months to March 31. (in millions of rupees unless stated) More...
Published: Wed May 31 07:04:51 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan troops seize Tamil Tiger weapons cache
AFP, SLT May 31. COLOMBO,Sri Lankan troops seized a large haul of weapons left behind by fleeing Tamil Tiger rebels, the official Special Media Information Centre (SMIC) said Wednesday.

The SMIC said in a statement the haul included assault rifles, machine guns and 81mm mortar which were captured in Ariyalai and Chavakachcheri on the Jaffna peninsula on the island's northern tip.

On Tuesday the government declared that a major Tamil rebel offensive in Jaffna had been stopped but fighting had left more than 100 combatants dead on both sides. More...
Published: Wed May 31 05:34:34 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka says its troops beat back rebels in Jaffna
Reuters, SLT May 31. COLOMBO, May 31 (Reuters) - Lankan troops beat back an attack by Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the government said.

A government statement said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) rebels had mounted an attack using rocket propelled grenades on army positions in the Chemmani area, close to Jaffna city, but were forced to withdraw when the troops retaliated. More...
Published: Wed May 31 05:23:13 EDT 2000

Attack on CWE outlet
SL Government, SLT May 31. Terrorists attacked the forward defended localities in Chemmani area with rocket propelled grenades. Troops retaliated effectively causing terrorists to withdraw. Troops did not suffer any casualties.

A Security Forces fighting patrol operating ahead of the defences in Colombothurai area confronted a group of terrorists. Two terrorists were killed and two others were wounded. More...
Published: Wed May 31 05:16:42 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka: under siege but intact
SLT WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 2000. Robert Marquand,Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor,

When Tamil Tiger separatists stampeded a Sri Lankan stronghold called Elephant Pass on April 21, most experts wrote the epitaph for the unity of Sri Lanka and its Army. Armed with rocket launchers, 5,000 Tiger soldiers overwhelmed 40,000 Sri Lankan troops and in three days took a position the Army had captured only after 17 painful months.

It seemed only days or hours before the ferocious LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), one of the most feared and efficient guerrilla groups in the world, would roll into Jaffna city. Located near the tip of Sri Lanka's Tamil-majority northern peninsula, Jaffna is considered by Tamils to be the mythic capital of a greatly desired independent Tamil homeland, or "Eelam."

Yet in the past two weeks, the Sri Lankan Army has begun to do what no one expected: They have started to fight back.

Journalists are barred from the fighting areas, but reliable sources report that the military has been rearming. It's using satellite imagery provided by the West to detect guerrilla positions, and it has stalled the Tigers' three-pronged attack in northern Sri Lanka. Early in the week the Army had, at least temporarily, driven the guerrillas from Chavakachcheri, a key city.

Published: Wed May 31 04:52:01 EDT 2000

Norway as peacemaker
SLT WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 2000. You find Norwegians in the most unlikely places. In Sri Lanka, for example, a Norwegian deputy foreign minister is leading efforts to bring the government and Tamil rebels to the negotiating table (related story, page 6).

In Colombia, a Norwegian United Nations official is seeking to cement peace between the Army and Marxist guerrillas.

In Ethiopia and Eritrea, Norwegian church workers are fostering talks between religious leaders on both sides of the war.

"Everywhere there is a crisis, there seems to be a Norwegian," says Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

Ever since Norway helped broker the Oslo peace accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993, the Norwegian government has been inundated with requests to help solve conflicts, from Kashmir to Kurdistan, from Cyprus to Guatemala. And wherever it gets involved, Oslo has practiced its unique brand of diplomacy, blending official overtures with freelance initiatives by ambitious private citizens in a way no other country has dared.

Published: Wed May 31 04:44:29 EDT 2000

Taking refuge in Tamil Nadu
BBC, Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK. Every morning, scores of women and men huddle near the highway outside the Mandapam transit camp for refugees in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They wait for labour contractors to take them to construction sites, warehouses and coconut plantations, where they will gladly work for half the local wage. That is because these Sri Lankan Tamils are the poorest of the poor. Here, they may be safe from the bombs and bullets of the war between the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan forces, barely 100km away. More...
Published: Wed May 31 02:38:49 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka: what lies ahead? An Editorial...
Frontline, May 31. There is absolutely no reason to believe that, after the major military victories won in the mainland North and then in the Jaffna Peninsula, the LTTE and its supremo are prepared to negotiate a devolution package along federal lines within Sri Lanka. Si nce it launched its armed struggle for Tamil Eelam, there is no instance of the LTTE talking substance relating to a political settlement within the framework of Sri Lanka's unity and territorial integrity. It has always been uncompromisingly committed t o the secessionist goal through armed struggle and terrorist methods. The ongoing tragedy of Sri Lanka is that the LTTE's bloody quest for Eelam is a pipe-dream, the attempt to suppress by military force the armed struggle for Eelam has yet again been de monstrated to be a pipe-dream, yet blood continues to be shed on an appalling scale. More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:47:01 EDT 2000

Assessing the military outlook - An interview with Lt.Gen. A.S. Kalkat
Frontline, May 13. He says that the assumption that the Sri LankaArmy is "trapped" in the Jaffna peninsula is incorrect because it has almost 40,00 0 soldiers as against a maximum possible number of 7,000 LTTE cadres. He adds: "In fact, if the Sri Lanka Army decides to stand and fight... the LTTE is trapped. However, considering the performance of the Sri Lanka Army at Elephant Pass, and the signals emanating from the battlefield until censorship was imposed, it appears that the Army is not able to perform as well as expected." Excerpts from the interview: More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:44:18 EDT 2000

Frontline, May 31. The indubitable reasoning behind Velupillai Prabakaran's siege over the Peninsula appears to be to emaciate the Army totally. The big change from the past is that the guerillas would capture the Peninsula with the significant addition of the Iyakachchi-E lephant Pass gateway garrison, from which the earlier Jaffna operations to push the LTTE into the jungle tracts commenced. The offensive also marks a territorial high-point of Tamil separatist militancy, which has been on since the late 1970s. Several incidents over the past decades, if seen together, give a clear picture of the slow but steady distancing of the northern Pen insula from the mainland. If the 1984 bombing of the Yal Devi train to Jaffna set off the serious disruption of transport services, the stoppage of rail services since the 1990s has meant the loss of a vital lifeline of a nation. More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:41:32 EDT 2000

The battle for Jaffna
Frontline, May 31. The Sri Lankan government also unleashed a massive aerial bombardment within and without the Peninsula. The bombing was ostensibly aimed to prevent the LTTE from inducting its cadres from the mainland into the Peninsula. More important, it was also a "se arch-and-destroy" mission against LTTE heavy artillery. In recent times, the Tigers have used long-range artillery and armoured cars extensively and successfully in combat. The Air Force scoured the skies in search of these. The objective was to destroy these before the LTTE could move them and reach positions within firing range of the Palaly-Kankesanthurai base. In spite of intensive bombardment there have been no claims by Colombo of targeting artillery or armoured cars. On the other hand, there have been instances where the Israeli built Kfir jets of the Air Force have been way off the mark as in the case of the Pallikuda bombing near Pooneryn on the mainland where five civilians were killed. More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:37:44 EDT 2000

Of arms and assistance
Frontline, May 31. Sri Lankan diplomatic sources, however, confirm that not even a single bullet has been received from India since the onslaught on Jaffna started. They say that Pakistan and China were among the first nations to step in. Israel has also been supplying arm s, according to highly placed sources, but reports about their quantity and level of sophistication are apparently exaggerated. For instance, reports about the deployment of eight Israeli Kfir fighter planes on the warfront are not true, according to the Sri Lankan sources. Until the third week of May, the jets had not arrived in Sri Lanka. The Israelis believe in a "cash and carry" policy, and Sri Lanka is facing a financial crunch. Sri Lankan officials say that humanitarian or military aid after the f all of Jaffna will be of no avail. If Jaffna falls, the backlash against India will be tremendous. Memories of Indian help to the separatists in the 1970s and the 1980s will be resurrected. Harkishan Singh Surjeet, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said that India's current stand is detrimental to "our national interests and allows our security to be jeopardised". He said that the U.S. was using countries such as Israel as a front to further its own agenda in the region. "It is high time the government of India reasserted its firm position on the Sri Lankan issue, steered clear of chauvinism and came to the help of the Sri Lankan government in finding a negotiate d and principled solution to the ethnic question." More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:34:32 EDT 2000

Passage to Mandapam
Frontline, May 31. Vasanthan, 50, reached the camp early this year along with his wife, son and daughter. He had paid Sri Lankan Rs.50,000 to boatmen to be ferried across to the Indian shore from Talaimannar. For him and his family, it was a great escape from 10 years and more of fear of death. Vasanthan, a carpenter, said the family decided to leave Mannar when the militants demanded that his son and daughter join the struggle for Eelam. When the "conscription order", which they had managed to evade for many years, became almost a reality, the y took the hard decision to leave. They mobilised all their resources and paid for their travel across the sea. More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:29:12 EDT 2000

Waiting for refugees
Frontline, May 31. Even as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam captured Elephant Pass on April 22 signalling an intensified battle for the Jaffna Peninsula, the State government reportedly received intelligence information that some 3,000 Tamils were waiting on the shores of Sri Lanka to cross over to India. It geared itself to accommodate new arrivals at the Mandapam transit camp in Ramanathapuram district. The district administration arranged to repair existing shelters in the camp and construct new ones in the event o f an influx. It was also planned to shift 1,200 of the about 8,000 refugees, who are now in the camp to camps in other districts. The families that were to be shifted were identified and intimated. More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:26:10 EDT 2000

Some questions in Tamil Nadu
Frontline, May 31. On May 4, Karunanidhi told the State Assembly that "it is the unanimous opinion of the people of Tamil Nadu that India should neither send its troops nor supply arms to help the Sri Lankan Government... India should not lend itself to the massacre of Tam ils in Sri Lanka." On May 12, he said: "We (the DMK) will be happy if they (the LTTE) get Tamil Eelam, either through negotiations or through armed conflict." He assured the House at the same time that the State would not be allowed to be used as a base by the LTTE. On May 13, he did a volte face. He explained that he did not support the establishment of an independent Eelam and that what he meant was that he would be happy to see an end to the Sri Lankan conflict and the creation of conditions in which Tamils could live peacefu lly. Then on May 15, he elaborated on how the DMK "distanced itself" from the LTTE many years ago, and that just because the DMK had at one time supported "Tamil Eelam" it should not be construed that "we supported all the activities of the LTTE". Accord ing to party sources, the DMK's support to the LTTE could at best be "moral". More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:23:22 EDT 2000

The hostile witness
Frontline, May 31. MARUMALARCHI Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) chief Vaiko figured as a controversial witness in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case tried by the Special Court. This is clear from the judgment which recorded Vaiko's non-cooperation with the prosecution w hen it came to providing evidence on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He denied in court most of the statements he reportedly made earlier when examined by the Inspector of Police Ramesh (prosecution witness-284) in the course of the invest igations into the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. He feigned ignorance about having identified the book, Tamil National Question and Indo-Sri Lankan Accord, or his article titled 'Prabakaran thought of suicide before the signing of the Accord' in the book. The court declared him "hostile to the prosecution." More..
Published: Tue May 30 22:20:09 EDT 2000

Lanka civil war: India sees no major breakthrough
Hindustan Times, May 30. INDIA HAS assessed the latest civil war position in northern Sri Lanka as one heading towards a no-win situation for both sides. The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) and LTTE, are expected to dig into their heels and fight a seesaw battle for some time. As things start today, not very much is expected to happen on the ground by way of convincing breakthrough by either side. The initiative is still with the LTTE but with every passing day this initiative is getting blunted, sources said. The LTTE is not in a position to carry out pitched battles in built up areas. Therefore, it may try to avoid a blood bath in Jaffna. On the other hand, the SLA is steadily getting a grip on the situation. The President has already ruled out evacuation”, sources said. More..
Published: Tue May 30 21:51:57 EDT 2000

All eyes now on India’s move on Lanka
Hindustan Times, May 31. f the Sri Lankan Army were to make thrusts, the LTTE/Tamil lobby would raise a hue and cry about civilian casualties, beginning to be described as a “humanitarian catastrophe”, and seek India’s intervention. But an intervention at that juncture would alienate the Sri Lankan Government. On the other hand, if the LTTE were to make dangerous thrusts, there would be a shrill chorus in the Sinhala south seeking urgent Indian help. India itself would not like the LTTE gaining an upper hand. Therefore, except in a military stalemate, an active Indian involvement seems inevitable. “In a week’s time, India might have to make some decisive move,” felt Mr Douglas Devananda, MP and leader of the Eelam Peoples’ Democratic Party. More..
Published: Tue May 30 21:51:57 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka fighting leaves 8,352 people homeless
Orientation-afp, May 30. Fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka has left 8,352 people homeless, but adequate supplies of food, water and medicine were available, the government here said Tuesday.Sri Lanka's top official in charge of rehabilitating war-damaged areas, General Sarath Munasinghe, said a total of 2,320 families consisting of 8,352 individuals had registered with local authorities as "displaced" by the fighting in the Jaffna peninsula as of a week ago.The peninsula has a population of around 500,000. More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:55:26 EDT 2000

Transforming Sri Lanka
Financial TImes, May 30 2000. Talk to any Sri Lankan businessman or policymaker and sooner or later the subject will turn to what the island could have been were it not for the civil war, which has raged for the past 17 years as Tamil rebels fight for an independent homeland in the north and east of the country. This war has not only killed more than 60,000 people, it has destroyed hopes that Sri Lanka might become south Asia's answer to Hong Kong or Singapore."Even if the war ends today, they will have a lot to fulfil politically," says Nadeem Ul Haque, the International Monetary Fund representative in Colombo, who sees a bright future for Sri Lanka as a "small and open economy". "We're a short step away from that vision, but that requires two things: peace and political will." More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:28:05 EDT 2000

PMK chief hopes Lanka crisis will end soon
Newindexpress, May30. Peace should prevail in Tamils living area in Sri Lanka and that is our wish. India is closely watching the developments in Lanka and hence there is a good chance for solution, declared Ramadoss, PMK founder. People of all castes enjoy equal rights in India but it was not so in Lanka. ``By observing a fast, we have expressed our feeling towards Tamils,'' he said and added that besides PMK, MDMK, Pudhiya Tamilagam wasbacking our stand on Sri Lanka issue. If Tamil Eelam was formed it would be friendly towards India. More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:09:40 EDT 2000

BJP flays PMK, MDMK for pro-Eelam views
Newindpress, May 30. CHENNAI: The BJP State unit is displeased with the PMK and MDMK voicing pro-Eelam views, stating that their propaganda goes against popular sentiment. ``The people of the State are neither for a separate Tamil Eelam nor for the LTTE. The MDMK and PMK are just trying hard to sell their ideas through `allies and fasts,'' Ganesan said on Monday. When the major parties in the State _ DMK, AIADMK, TMC, Congress and the BJP _ reflected the public opinion, there was no need to counter pro-Eelam propaganda, Ganesan said. More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:06:46 EDT 2000

City police to monitor Lankans closely
Newindpress, May30. City Police Commissioner P Kalimuthu on Monday issued fresh orders to identify unregistered Sri Lankan Tamils and initiate action against them under the Passports Act. The City police has also stepped up vigil against Sri Lankan Tamils settled in different parts of the City in view of the intensifying fight between LTTE cadres and the army in the island nation. More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:06:46 EDT 2000

Chandrika betraying army, international community: PMK
Newindpress, May30. Sri Lanka president Chandrika Kumaratunga, without having the mind to accept defeat and seek a political solution to the ethnic conflict, is engaged in attempts to betray the army, countrymen and the international community, charged PMK founder S Ramadoss.Sri Lanka never trusted India and it never had been a trusted neighbour of India, he added. Talking to mediapersons in Thailavaram, near Tindivanam on Monday, Ramadoss said the Lankan President did not have the courage to accept the ceasefire offered by the Tigers and was indulging in acts of cowardice by putting the Tamils in front to shield her. More..
Published: Tue May 30 20:01:33 EDT 2000

India urges Lanka to devolve power
The Statesman, May 30. ndia has decided not to broker a ceasefire in Sri Lanka, and has instead concentrated its efforts on urging the Lankan President to move rapidly towards devolution of power.The government believes that Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga’s problems stem from her government’s failure to devolve power. It has advised the President to obtain a clear political consensus on the issue, and said that the devolution package should meet the aspirations of all sections. India, however, made it clear that it does not see the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, and that it remains committed to the island nation’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. More..
Published: Tue May 30 19:51:54 EDT 2000

India works on Lankan devolution package
Indian Express, May 31. India is working with Sri Lanka to evolve a devolution package for the Tamil community on the island, secure in the knowledge that the Tamils must find a ``place of honour'' within the territorial integrity and unity of Sri Lanka.Even as the Sri Lankan armed forces fight back against the rampaging LTTE guerrillas, New Delhi is said to be persuading Colombo to ``go beyond the 1987 devolution package'' that was an integral part of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord, and address the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils there. More...
Published: Tue May 30 19:06:02 EDT 2000

Tamil terror allies use Toronto schools for fundraisers
National Post, May 30. Canadian public schools are being used by supporters of the Tamil Tigers, one of the world's most ruthless terrorist organizations, for fundraising drives and militaristic after-school rallies featuring men in camouflage uniforms carrying mock assault rifles. The rallies are "magnets for violence" because they attract ethnic Tamil gangs, which the RCMP has said are heavily involved in financing the Tamil Tigers. "We know that a lot of them are gang members that are involved in these things," a law enforcement official said.Yesterday in the House of Commons, Mr. Martin, the Minister of Finance, faced accusations from the Canadian Alliance that he was consorting with terrorist supporters but responded that the FACT dinner was a cultural celebration and, at $60 a plate, it was "hardly a major fundraising event." More..
Published: Tue May 30 18:57:18 EDT 2000

Congress defends IPKF operations
Times of India, May 30. The Congress on Tuesday defended the Rajiv Gandhi government's decision to send the Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka in 1987 and said the government needed to take the initiative to end ethnic conflict in the island nation. More...
Published: Tue May 30 18:37:16 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka poll rally blast: four arrested
Hindu, May 30. Four suspects, who allegedly met some LTTE leaders in connection with the Dec. 18 suicide bomb attack on Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, have been remanded to custody by the Colombo Magistrate today. State radio said that the four, believed to be the members of Opposition United Nation Party (UNP) unit in eastern Batticaloa, have been accused of meeting LTTE leaders in connection with the suicide blast. More..
Published: Tue May 30 18:31:53 EDT 2000

Cong. flays Govt. policy on Sri Lanka
Hindu, May 30. The Congress today assailed the Government for its ``hands-off policy'' towards developments in Sri Lanka and said that it should respond to the situation as it evolves and should show ``sensitivity'' towards the Indo-Sri Lanka accord. Expressing concern over the developments, party spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters that the Government was giving an impression of adopting a hands-off policy on the issue. More..
Published: Tue May 30 18:29:05 EDT 2000

Battle for Jaffna far from over
Hindu, MAY 30.. After over a month of intense fighting for the Jaffna peninsula, there is a comparative lull with reports trickling in of only sporadic clashes, but the battle is by no means over yet. Analysts here are interpreting Monday's offensive by the security forces at Chavakachcheri and Sarisalai in Thenmarachchi division as an indication that there was still some fight left in the troops, and that the capture of Jaffna by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam may not be the imminent inevitability that it seemed two weeks ago. More..
Published: Tue May 30 18:26:12 EDT 2000

FEATURE-Sri Lankan war seen through the looking glass
ABCNews, May 30. The people now only have the government version to go on. Rebel casualties are overstated, army casualties understated. Retreats are unreported, victories are trumpeted. Sri Lankan journalists say the people are a lot smarter than the government gives them credit for and know Jaffna's fate hangs in the balance despite the official bravura. The real giveaway about just how perilous the situation is is the persistent talk that Sri Lanka's final option is to ask India for assistance in evacuating troops and civilians. More...
Published: Tue May 30 16:46:40 EDT 2000

PMK observes fast against Tamil's plight in Lanka
India-Today, May 30. Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) workers observed a state-wide fast on Tuesday, protesting against the alleged genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka by the armed forces. They also demanded that the United States and European countries desist from extending help to the island nation in the ongoing war against the LTTE.More than 100 party volunteers observed the fast, in Madurai. More...
Published: Tue May 30 15:42:22 EDT 2000

LTTE does not find favour with Pickering
Daily Pioneer, May 30. Addressing mediapersons at the end of his one-day official visit to the island nation last night, Pickering sounded a warning to the rebels when he said, "in the event the LTTE declares a unilateral independence, the international community automatically becomes an arbitrator."Pickering admitted that he discussed with the Lankan President the possible sale of superior military equipment by the US. However, he refused to give details of puchases, saying "this could be detrimental to the military operations." He also expressed us concern about problems faced by civilians trapped in the embattled Jaffna. More...
Published: Tue May 30 15:33:58 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka says food supplies adequate in Jaffna
MSNBC, May 30. Sri Lanka said on Tuesday supplies of food and medicine for some half a million people on the war-torn Jaffna peninsula were adequate.U.S. Under Secretary for State Thomas Pickering voiced concern during a visit to Colombo on Monday that there was a ''humanitarian crisis'' brewing in the north of the country. But General Sarath Munasinghe, Commissioner General of Essential Services, told the diplomats and aid agencies there were three-months supply of essential food items available on the peninsula, the foreign ministry said. More...
Published: Tue May 30 15:27:17 EDT 2000

120 rebels, 7 Lankan soldiers killed in army offensive
Times of India, May 30. At least 120 Tamil rebels and seven soldiers were killed in a massive offensive by the army against the Tigers in northern Jaffna as the Sri Lankan government on Tuesday asserted that its troops had halted the LTTE's march to the embattled peninsula.In a significant remark, Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said the army had been able to stop the "rolling onslaught" by the LTTE in Jaffna and the government had fullest confidence in the army's ability to hold its ground in the peninsula where heavy fighting is raging. More...
Published: Tue May 30 15:20:59 EDT 2000

Fresh attacks by Lankan Army
Chennai Online, Colombo, May 30. Bolstered by the visit of US Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering who said that his country had long stood for the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and was opposed to the creation of a separate “Eelam” State, security forces in Northern Jaffna have started a joint operation to flush out LTTE militants from the Peninsula. More...
Published: Tue May 30 14:28:42 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka landmine blast kills at least eight
CNN, May 30. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Reuters) -- At least eight policemen were killed and 10 wounded in a landmine explosion in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, military officials said.

They said a truck carrying about 40 policemen was blown up close to the town of Vavuniya, about 220 kilometers (138 miles) northeast of Colombo. More...
Published: Tue May 30 14:00:00 EDT 2000

Under Secretary of State Thomas R. Pickering on-the-record press discussion with journalists
The Lanka Academic, Colombo, 29 May 2000. Mr. Dilip Ganguly, Associated Press Colombo Bureau Chief: In what way the U.S. can contribute in forcing both the parties, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government, to come to the table and talk? It's good to say that they should talk, everyone is saying they should talk, Sri Lanka says they're willing to talk. Which way are you going to contribute in making the LTTE come to talk?

Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, U.S. Under Secretary of State: I think that one way is to make it clear that we and others who assess the situation do not see a military resolution to this conflict. And I think that the long and sad and very difficult and very damaging history of this conflict should, in its own way, speak to them about the non-feasibility of a military solution. I think, secondly, letting them know that the international community in our judgment as a whole does not support another independent state is, I hope, at least a message that will have some effect. We believe that they should give up assassination and terror. We believe that they should be part of a negotiating process that the government has offered. And I believe the government is anxious to obviously resolve in its own mind what it is prepared to do in its negotiating efforts to achieve the result by trying to describe what an effective autonomy might be. More...
Published: Tue May 30 13:50:18 EDT 2000

Lankan navy destroys LTTE boats carrying arms and ammunition
Indian Express, COLOMBO, MAY 29. Amidst intense fighting in the Jaffna peninsula, the Sri Lankan navy for the first time in six weeks of war destroyed LTTE boats carrying arms and ammunition for Tamil rebels. Meanwhile, the United States asked the guerrillas to halt their operation and join peace talks with the government to reach a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

As the LTTE, in an attempt to boost the depleting numbers of its cadre, began a massive conscription drive in the area under its control, visiting US Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering held talks with the Sri Lankan leadership and formally ruled out any support for Eelam, a separate state for Tamils. More...
Published: Tue May 30 13:49:41 EDT 2000

Eight policemen killed today
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.20 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30. Eight policemen were killed today when a claymore mine exploded under the truck they were travelling in. The incident took place at around 8.55 a.m. this morning, on the Vavuniya-Mannar road in Sri Lanka's North. Ten others were injured in the explosion. The policemen were on their way to Vavuniya town.
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:16 EDT 2000

Civilian casualties mount in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.25 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today said that since May 11, to Sunday May 28, twenty eight (28) civilians were admitted to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital as a result of being hit by heavy shelling in the battle areas of the North. Of this number 13 died of their injuries.

Thirty four (34) war wounded patients have been transferred to the Vavuniya hospital from the Mallavi area in Chavakachcheri. The injured civilians were moved by doctors of the Medicines sans Frontier working in Sri Lanka's battle zones.

From May 14, to Sunday May 28, fifty two (52) war wounded persons were admitted to Point Pedro hospital. Of this number one succumbed to injuries.

The ICRC together with Sri Lanka Red Cross teams, continue to monitor the humanitarian needs of the population in the northern peninsula. The ICRC have since the outbreak of hostilities between troops and the LTTE, given non food relief assistance to 3,250 families (12,000 persons) in the West Valikamam and Point Pedro area.

The families are housed at present in various welfare centres in the northern peninsula. Harsha Gunawardana, Spokesman for the ICRC said that this figure however is not the totality of the displaced in the peninsula. He said it is difficult for the ICRC to assess the total number displaced, since the organization does not have access to areas in which the battle continues to rage.

While conducting some 15 mobile clinics also to help the displaced, the ICRC have assisted some 241 families in the Vanni. The Vanni region in the North of Sri Lanka comprises of Vavuniya, Mannar, Killinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

The ICRC maintain that it would be no exaggeration to say that one of the serious consequences of the armed conflict prevailing in the country, is the enormous human suffering undergone by the internally displaced and resident population of the Vanni region.

The humanitarian organization asserts that constant military operations and ever shifting front lines have compelled the majority of people to move several times in recent years. (eg. Operations Riviresa 1, 2, 3 (95-96), Sath Jaya 1, 2, 3 (96), Edibala (97), Jaya Sikuru (98), Rivibala (98), Unceasing Waves 3 (99 -00).
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:17 EDT 2000

LTTE alleged to have transported 200 children from Jaffna for conscription
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.30 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30. The Special Media Information Centre said yesterday that the LTTE used the unilateral 12 hour ceasefire on Saturday May 27, to transport 200 children from the areas of Kaithady, Thananankillapu and Ariyalai to the Vanni in order to undergo training to help the Tigers in their battle for Jaffna. The government also says that the rebels ordered some 2000 families in the Jaffna peninsula to vacate their homes. The reason, the State claims, is unknown.

Meanwhile the government maintains that as a result these families are undergoing severe hardship as they have taken refuge in Kovils while some are under trees in sections of the northern peninsula.

As the civilian situation seems to worsen in Jaffna, both the United Nations for High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and Thomas Pickering, US Under Secretary expressed serious concern over the plight of thousands of civilians in the northern peninsula who they say are caught between the fire of government troops and the LTTE.

Pickering, while on an official visit to Colombo yesterday, told a news conference that it was evident, urgent measures should be adopted to avoid a human catastrophe in Sri Lanka's North.

Answering questions posed by journalists yesterday, Pickering ruled out any international support for a separate state in Sri Lanka affirming that, "Eelam - a separate state, can only exist in the 'Planet of the Dead.' "
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:17 EDT 2000

Tamil political parties not happy with PA, UNP, dialogue
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.35 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30. Representatives of Tamil and Muslim political parties who met with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday had said they are not happy with certain agreements reached between the PA and UNP on matters of constitutional reform.

The President is reported to have promised that she would express their concerns to both the PA and UNP delegations who have been jointly debating devolution proposals, aimed at bringing about a political resolution to the present conflict.

The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) has meanwhile voiced displeasure at the joint discussions between the PA and UNP saying that both parties have attempted to dilute the proposed constitutional reforms and have not lent serious consideration to aspects of the peace package that will affect the minority communities in Sri Lanka.

The TULF, PLOTE, EROS, EPDP and SLMC were some of the parties represented at the discussion.
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:17 EDT 2000

Lankan troops mount offensive
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.40 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 30. Armed forces troops are reported to have launched a counter offensive against the LTTE yesterday in the general area of Chavakachcheri and Ariyalai.

The Government maintains that a number of enemy strong points have been damaged causing considerable losses to the rebels. Backed by armour and heavy artillery, the military claim to have repulsed several attempts by the Tigers to ferry more men and materials to Ariyalai and Thananankillapu using the Jaffna lagoon from the Vanni mainland.
Published: Tue May 30 10:44:17 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan government: Rebels using child soldiers
CBS-UPI, May 29. The Sri Lankan government Monday accused the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas of conscripting school children to fight the army in the country's northern Jaffna peninsula.The LTTE has instructed people living in the areas it controls to give up all vocations and join their ranks until Eelam - their proposed Tamil homeland -- is achieved, the government said. LTTE leaders have asked school children to join the armed offensive, it added. More...
Published: Tue May 30 10:25:43 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers suffer 'heavy losses'
BBC, May 30. The Sri Lankan military says it has inflicted heavy losses on Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula. One report quoting defence officials said more than 100 rebels had been killed during the latest army offensive. The Sri Lankan army says its troops had advanced towards Chavakachcheri, east of Jaffna town where there have been intense clashes between the two sides. More..
Published: Tue May 30 10:14:58 EDT 2000

War costs for Sri Lanka
BBC, May 30. The beach at Mount Lavinia hotel just south of Colombo boasts a wide expanse of sand and fringe of palm trees. It is also completely deserted. It is usually low season at this time of year - but fighting in the north means this year has been particularly badly hit. Markets in Colombo are still bustling, There is little sign of any economic strain among ordinary people. More..
Published: Tue May 30 10:11:02 EDT 2000

India, Lanka to settle fishermen issue
ChennaiOnline, May29. India and Sri Lanka Monday agreed to find an “agreeable solution” to the common issue of fishermen crossing territorial waters inadvertently. Agriculture Minister Nitish Kumar and Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Mahindra Rajapakse, who called on the former, agreed to simplify procedures for dealing with fishermen who are caught by the other side for trespassing. More...
Published: Tue May 30 10:03:15 EDT 2000

116 LTTE rebels killed, says Army
Hindu, 30 May. The Sri Lankan Army today claimed that 116 Tamil Tigers and seven soldiers were killed in its latest offensive operations against the rebels in northern Jaffna peninsula even as two policemen were killed and 23 injured in LTTE landmine blast near northern Vavuniya.He said monitored LTTE wireless radio transmissions so far admitted the death of 116 rebels while the Army has recovered 14 bodies. More...
Published: Tue May 30 09:57:38 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka fighting kills over 100 as US official urges peace talks
Orientation -afp, 30 May. The latest round of fighting in northern Sri Lanka has left over 100 people dead, officials said Tuesday as a top US official left here with an appeal to Tamil separatists to enter peace talks.Even as Pickering was meeting with Sri Lankan leaders on Monday, heavy hand-to-hand fighting raged in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of here as the military launched a "search and destroy" mission, a military spokesman said.He said at least 100 Tigers were killed in operations carried out with the support of helicopter gun ships in the towns of Sarasalai, Chavakachcheri and Ariyalai, all on the Jaffna peninsula."We are using new weapons and they are having an effect on the battlefield," the military spokesman said, but declined to give further details. More...
Published: Tue May 30 09:46:39 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka claims Tamil truce a ruse to conscript child soldiers
Orientation -afp, 30 May. The Sri Lankan government claimed Tuesday that a recent 12-hour truce declared by rebel Tamil Tigers was a ruse which allowed them time to conscript and ship child soldiers for military training."It has now been confirmed that the LTTE had declared the unilateral ceasefire in order to transport over 200 school children conscripted from Kaithady, Tanakillappu and Ariyalai areas in the Jaffna Peninsula," it said. More...
Published: Tue May 30 09:44:25 EDT 2000

'Whoever wins this war, the poor people stand to lose'
WSWS, May27. A mother of a missing soldier said: “My son went to defend the country but in the end we could not even see a fragment of his body. When an entire camp is running away, leaving even the cannon, will they stop to pick up a wounded or dead?” Her son, 33, a lance corporal in the 9th Infantry brigade, was reported missing on April 27 following the Sri Lankan army retreat from Elephant Pass.“The UNP [opposition United National Party] as well as the PA are responsible for this war. Whoever wins this war, the poor people stand to lose. More..
Published: Tue May 30 08:55:13 EDT 2000

US and EU push India to intervene in Sri Lanka
WSWS, May 26. Amid continued fierce fighting in Sri Lanka between government troops and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), hectic discussions have been underway in New Delhi and Colombo over how to establish a ceasefire and bring the two sides into negotiations. Both the US and the European Union are pressing the Indian government headed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to intervene more directly into the conflict following a series of LTTE victories on the northern Jaffna peninsula. More..
Published: Tue May 30 08:51:37 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Tamil Civil War Escalates
Yahoo-ap, May30. Tamil Tiger rebels killed 15 police officers and soldiers while wounding 49 in two attacks today. Government troops retaliated by killing 18

rebels in the northern battle zone, a top government spokesman said.There was no claim of responsibility for the mine explosion that occurred as a truck carrying policemen left Vavuniya, said a local police officer. Two policemen died immediately. Of 23 admitted to the local hospital, another six died there, said a nurse reached by telephone. More..
Published: Tue May 30 08:48:49 EDT 2000

Lankan Tamils in Canada plan 'victory celebrations'
India-Abroad, May 28. Tamils of Sri Lankan descent have announced plans for "victory celebrations" in three Canadian cities for the recent territorial gains made by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels against government troops in the island nation.The celebrations, to be held in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, are being organized by the World Tamil

Movement and the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT)."It may be repulsive and obscene, but it's not illegal," a law enforcement official has been quoted in media reports as saying about the proposed celebrations.FACT organized its Tamil New year dinner at an exclusive hotel here with Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin as chief guest. More..
Published: Tue May 30 08:47:01 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka landmine blast kills at least eight
Reuters, SLT Tuesday May 30. COLOMBO, May 30 (Reuters) - At least eight policemen were killed and 10 wounded in a landmine explosion in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, military officials said.

They said a truck carrying about 40 policemen was blown up close to the town of Vavuniya, about 220 km (138 miles) northeast of Colombo.

Initial reports said seven civilians were also wounded in the blast, which police blamed on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels. More...
Published: Tue May 30 05:11:10 EDT 2000

Lankan soldiers kill 116 LTTE rebels
India Today, 04:46 GMT Tuesday May 30. Colombo, May 30: The Sri Lankan army on Tuesday claimed that 116 Tamil Tigers and seven soldiers were killed in its latest offensive operations against the rebels in northern Jaffna peninsula. Two policemen were also killed and 23 injured in LTTE land mine blast near northern Vavuniya. More...
Published: Tue May 30 03:37:06 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan army claims Jaffna success
BBC News, 04:46 GMT Tuesday May 30. The Sri Lankan military says there's been an escalation in its conflict with Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the north of the country.

A military spokesman says there was close-quarter fighting overnight in three towns in an area straddling the Jaffna peninsula's main highway.

The spokesman said a-hundred rebels were killed. More...
Published: Tue May 30 03:32:29 EDT 2000

Five policemen killed, 20 wounded in Claymore mine attack in Sri Lanka
ABC News, 02:53:00 GMT Tuesday May 30. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP), A Claymore mine exploded in Vavuniya on Tuesday, killing five policemen and wounding 20 others, according to a police officer and a hospital nurse.

The mine exploded as a truck carrying a group of policemen left the northern town, said a police officer in Vavuniya. More...
Published: Tue May 30 03:27:11 EDT 2000

US rejects Tamil state in Sri Lanka, warns India as fresh fighting flares
Orientation, 07:53 GMT Tuesday May 30. COLOMBO, May 29 (AFP) - The United States Monday rejected Tamil demands to partition Sri Lanka and warned that separation in the island could have serious long-term implications for neighbouring India.

US Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering, told reporters after talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga the US would not recognise an "Eelam", a separate state demanded by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka's northeast. More...
Published: Tue May 30 03:15:51 EDT 2000

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